The press release on Opera filing an antitrust complaint against Microsoft states:
“We are filing this complaint on behalf of all consumers who are tired of having a monopolist make choices for them,” said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera. “In addition to promoting the free choice of individual consumers, we are a champion of open Web standards and cross-platform innovation. We cannot rest until we’ve brought fair and equitable options to consumers worldwide.”
As a web designer, I am aware of Internet Explorer’s flaws. I realize I am likely to be in the minority on this knowledge. The typical Windows user is unaware that other browsers exist, let alone that it doesn’t adhere to standards in optimal fashion. I get that Opera knows this and wants that to change, in particular. However, even if Microsoft provided alternative browsers bundled with Windows, I don’t know that Joe Blow would bother to use it. He’s already accustomed to looking for the big blue “e” to make the internet go.
As for making a case on giving consumers a choice to use a browser that adheres to standards: IE7 was a leap forward in standards support over IE6, but that didn’t cause the dog skin and coat supplement
mainstream surfer to make the switch. My husband still uses IE6 because he doesn't like the tabs in IE7. If he doesn't like them in IE7, he's not going to like them in Firefox or Opera. He's anti-tab!
Sure he can turn the tabs off. Do you think he knows that? Nope. I've shown him that he can turn off the tabs many moons ago. He didn't like the Favorites bar that he couldn't make go away. He also didn't like the look overall. He was used to his old Internet Explorer and wanted it back.
Granted, that's one man's opinion. A man who doesn't adjust to change easily. Contrary to what our mommies told us, we aren't that unique. How many other people are out there who are like my husband? According to the stats package tracking which browsers are used at the site where I work -- plenty. Those people may have different reasons, but they have stuck with IE6 regardless of the standards support in IE7.
General web surfers are far less concerned with support for standards than web developers/designers imagine or would like.
Now, if you push the security angle -- you might get their attention. Viruses, trojans, worms: these are terms they understand (even if not in detail). If you convince Tom, Dick and Harriet that Internet Explorer is a less secure browser than another, you might actually get them to consider switching.
Naturally, such a claim better be true before it gets used in that kind of campaign.